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Parents overestimate underage drinking

Parents “significantly overestimate” the extent and frequency of underage drinking, according to a poll commissioned by the UK arm of global beer brewer AB InBev.

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AB InBev’s poll found that parents “significantly overestimate” the extent of drinking among 11 to 15 year olds.

Despite underage drinking being at an all time low, the poll showed that 70% of parents believed it had increased compared to five years ago highlighting, the report said, a gap between parents’ perceptions of underage drinking and the reality.

On average, parents believed more than a third of 11 to 15 year olds drink alcohol at least once a week, with the actual figure being far lower at 5%, while parents think 57% of 11 to 15 year olds have tried alcohol when the actual figure is 39%.

Helena Conibear, director of the Alcohol Education Trust said: “These findings reveal the perception gap between parents’ views of children’s drinking and the reality. This emphasises the importance of education initiatives in ensuring parents, as the key suppliers of alcohol to those under the age of 18, are aware that drinking, particularly under the age of 15, is not the norm. Our parent training coordinators help parents discuss alcohol issues with their children, and we are thrilled to be extending this work with the appointment of a new coordinator to support our work in the North West where alcohol related harms are high.”

AB InBev UK launched a three-year partnership with the Alcohol Education Trust in 2013 focusing on helping parents talk to their children about responsible drinking.

Inge Plochaet, president of AB InBev UK and Ireland said the poll highlighted the “gulf” between parents’ perceptions of young people and how they actually behave towards alcohol.

She said: “That’s why it’s so important that parents are given all the help they need to talk to their children about responsible drinking. This is a priority for AB InBev UK, and we are proud of the focus we place on supporting parents to have those conversations through our Family Talk programme and our partnership with the Alcohol Education Trust.”

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